[KELP JOURNAL] Can you talk about why you chose photography? What does this form provide that other media does not?
[SHERRI HARVEY] As a kid with a camera, I learned to see. I learned to tell stories and capture memories. I knew, early on, that I wanted to be an instrument for change. One picture can make me sing. One picture can bring me to tears. When I share them, it’s like I am talking to the world in an intimate conversation.
[KELP JOURNAL] What do you look for when framing a shot? What draws you to the pictures you take? Should photographers be cognizant of the narrative they create of a place or time when exhibiting photos?
[SHERRI HARVEY] As a photographer (and writer, and eco-storyteller), I live to advocate for the animals, for the oceans and trees that don’t have a voice. In these photos, I had just spent a month photographing the Dayak, orangutans, and the destruction of their habitat in Borneo, and I came to the Derawan Islands as a way to unwind. As you can see, here, in these photos, I wanted to share that tranquility, especially after seeing what is happening to Borneo’s jungle.
[KELP JOURNAL] How has the digital age affected photography?
[SHERRI HARVEY] In this digital economy, we have a multitude of ways to make our voice heard. And we have a responsibility to be the voice for those that can’t speak. Think about why you’re compelled to take a picture of something. Figure out what message you want to share, then shout it from the rooftops. Be an instrument for the changes you want to see.
[KELP JOURNAL] Are there any photographers that have influenced your work?
[SHERRI HARVEY] Photographers who do this well: Ami Vitale took the famous photo of the last northern white rhino. Deanne Fitzmaurice, Suzi Eszterhas, all tell stories about the natural world, and nature—in all of its many glories—now more than ever before, needs our help.
Sherri Harvey lives, teaches, photographs, and writes in Silicon Valley, California. She holds an MA in Fiction and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction and Travel Writing. As a conservationist and animal photographer, she loves to travel and will go anywhere for a story. In February 2020, she spent a month following wild orangutans in Borneo. In 2019, she received an Adobe Digital Ambassador Grant for her sustainability project entitled “Accidental Advocates,” which helps students find their own path to advocacy. She has published in a plethora of magazines such as endangered.org, Wanderlust Journal, SnapDragon: Journal of Art and Healing, Dime Show Review, Sunday Night Stories, daCunha Global, Animal Literary Magazine, and 3Elements Literary Review. Check her out at www.sherricoyote.com and www.sunsherphoto.com.